Tom got up before the crack of dawn to go saw lumber. I just don’t know why this man cannot sleep in. He’s got some kind of infernal-internal alarm clock that makes him start fidgeting and getting antsy if he is in bed after 5:00 AM. Not me, Lovie, there’s nothing I like more than luxuriating in bed at camp with Mossy Oak camouflage flannel sheets and a down comforter reading the Bangor Daily News with a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea with milk and honey.
I am in the loft at the Beeve with our two black mutts, Phaedra and Gladys. All of a sudden, Gladys makes a frustrated sound that sounds eerily like ChewBacca. She is at the top of the steep cupboard stairs and she is furious. Gladys has gone to work every day with Tom for fourteen years. She doesn’t understand why Tom is leaving her behind these days. She doesn’t realize that she is getting too old to brave the elements the way she used to, that in her senior years, she doesn’t thermo-regulate well at all.
She glares at me. She is clearly angry. Gladys is Tom’s first and only dog and he is profoundly attached to her. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel competitive with her. She’s been with us since she was eight weeks old. I adore Gladys. I just think it is sad that she can’t accompany Tom all the time on the job any more.
I say, “All right, Gladys, I’ll take you down the stairs so you can go to work.” (Tom has been carrying her down the stairs, which I simply cannot do because she weighs about seventy pounds.)
I start at the top of the stairs—which have no sidewalls—and I hold onto her collar to coax her down. We get only two stairs down before her hind end gives out and she slides sideways. She slides and I fall over the side of the stairs—in slow motion—floating through the air about ten feet up with Gladys following after me. I watch this as though detached.
I land on my back in front of the sink in the kitchen. Gladys lands squarely on top of me. I swear I hear Gladys laugh. She looks at me as though this has been great fun—I have been her own personal airbag. She shakes it off and gets up to go to work. I, on the other hand, think I have a stress fracture in my right heel. I check every bone in my body. I can put weight on my heel, even though it hurts like hell, so I guess I’ve been lucky and it’s only bruised.
Two days later, there is a lovely cedar sidewall along the staircase enclosing it in from the kitchen. I thank Tom for building it.
He says, “No problem. I was really worried about Gladys.”
I shoot him a look that would stop a freight train. You know…sometimes I don’t know if Tom deliberately says stuff like this so he’ll have to sleep alone for the next six months.
Coming on Thursday! “Why I Decided to Trap Beavers”